- DECEMBER 18, 2015 AT 11:12 PM
- REPLY 6742470
For anyone who has an unusual spot on the skin that does not disappear within a few weeks, please get it checked by a doctor. Even if it is not a bc met, it may be a skin cancer, a treatable rash, or an infection.
Below from my MBC Guide is an excerpt about skin mets. Anyone interested in obtaining a complimentary copy of the 100+ page booklet is welcome to visit: https://www.inspire.com/groups/advanced-breast-cancer/discussion/vacation-a nd-requests-for-my-mbc-g...
Skin metastasis from breast cancer may appear similar to other skin maladies such as cellulitis, lymphedema, or a rash. Therefore, a biopsy is warranted in order to determine whether the symptom is indeed metastatic breast cancer. There is relatively little literature written about the treatment of skin metastasis from breast cancer. Usually systemic treatment is given, although additional options are provided below.
On occasion, breast cancer tumor(s) themselves can break through the skin, resulting in wounds to the skin. As the cancer grows, it blocks and damages tiny blood vessels, which can starve the area of oxygen. This causes the skin and underlying tissue to die (necrosis). There may also be infection, and areas of the wound may become ulcerated. These ulcerating (also called “fungating”) cancer wounds are relatively rare, and most people who have cancer will never have one. The symptoms they may cause include leakage, an unpleasant smell, pain, bleeding and itching. Treatment for ulcerating breast tumors is similar to that for skin metastasis.
TREATMENTS FOR SKIN (CUTANEOUS) METASTASIS
As described below, therapies for skin metastasis may include:
• ElectroChemoTherapy (ECT)
• Imiquimod Cream
• Laser Ablation
• Miltex (Miltefosine)
o Laser Ablation
o Radiofrequency Ablation
o Systemic therapy
• Cryotherapy, which refers to a treatment in which surface skin lesions are frozen, often by using liquid nitrogen, may sometimes be used to destroy skin lesions. From: http://dermnetnz.org/lesions/metastasis.html
• A new treatment called ElectroChemoTherapy (ECT) has been proposed as a complementary therapeutic technique for controlling cutaneous and subcutaneous metastasis. ECT is a non-thermal tumor ablation therapy providing electric currents (electric pulses) to cancer cells. The procedure increases cell membrane permeability, and enhances the penetration of drugs into the cancer cells. Bleomycin, an "antitumor antibiotic” and cisplatin may be the most suitable candidates for the combined use with ECT. In one small observational study, 12 breast cancer patients with skin metastases were given Bleomycin followed by the application of brief electric pulses to the tumor area. There was a Complete Response of 75.3%, a Partial Response in 17%, and no change in 7.7%. No serious ECT-related adverse events were reported. From: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2482/12/S1/S6 For those with ulcerating breast tumors, electrochemotherapy may help control bleeding, pain and discharge, and the treatment can be repeated if needed.
• One small study indicated that Imiquimod Cream applied topically may be helpful against skin metastasis in about 20% of patients: From: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3580198/
• Medihoney: At the 2010 Symposium on Advanced Wound Care (SAWC) and the Wound Healing Society (WHS), an international conference drawing clinicians from all over the globe, a clinician presented a series of cases illustrating the benefits of MEDIHONEY® dressings not only in the treatment of fungating tumor wounds but in eliminating their odor and the stigma that goes with it. MEDIHONEY® dressings are a unique line of products whose active ingredient is medical-grade active Leptospermum honey (ALH) that can succeed in alleviating wounds when other treatments have failed. From: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20100417/Honey-beneficial-for-treatment-of -fungating-tumor-wounds....
• A topical therapy called Miltex (Miltefosine) may be helpful if it is available. In a small study, 25 patients were treated, most of whom had been heavily pre-treated. A response was seen in 9 patients with skin lesions from metastatic breast cancer (1 complete response, 2 partial responses, 6 minor responses) giving a total response rate of 36%, with stable disease in 11 patients (44%) and progressive disease in 5 (20%). From: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs002800051114?LI=true and http://dermnetnz.org/lesions/metastasis.html
• In some cases, the literature about treating skin metastasis indicates that surgical excision, which might be followed by radiotherapy and/or systemic treatment, may be viable. And when surgical excision is not possible, there may be several therapeutic options such as laser ablation, radiofrequency ablation (which uses a needle that carries an electric current to heat the tumor to destroy it), or radiotherapy.